With Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans and his wife, Natasha, causing recent controversy with the choice of names for their twins (Boo and Walt for anyone who hasn’t heard), our choice of baby name has never been more in the spotlight, or faced more scrutiny. Never has there been such a momentous decision to make as to what moniker to select for your precious offspring. So here’s Rachel Tompkins with a guide to what NOT to do when choosing title for your heir….

Don’t run ideas past your family or friends

Expecting other people to think the same way you do regarding potential names is positively churlish. This is the voice of experience talking, who when discussing the names Fred and Barney with my dad, promptly heard the sound of whistling… as Dad proceeded to whistle the whole of The Flintstones theme tune. Needless to say neither of those names never saw the light of day.

Remember to say it out loud WITH the surname 

Sounds simple, but surely if parents had have done this before selecting their baby’s first name the world would have been spared from the likes of Megan Bacon, Sam Hamwich, and Billy Sitch.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking your name is original 

For those of us who are searching for something a bit different, it’s impossible! Sod’s law says that even the most unusual name will have already been thought of before – even if it’s the name of your Neighbour’s dog, the local late night takeaway joint, or your designer handbag!

Consider the future 

Overly cute names or names of the moment might seem like a good idea right now, but will 40-year-old Quinoa really thank you for it when she’s applying for jobs in 18-years-time?

Remember you’re not a celebrity 

Whilst it might be acceptable for the a-list elite to name their children in the most imaginable way, take Moroccan for example (Marian’s Carey’s son), Huckleberry (Bear Gryllis’s son), Apple (Gwenyth Paltrow’s famously fruit-named daughter) and Denim (Toni Braxton’s child), please remember that Joe Public might not be quite as accepting when you’re introducing them at babygroup or enrolling them at their first school!

Can you spell it?

More to the point, can they spell it?! A four-syllable name like Armaryllis, Desdemona, Zenobia and Persephone might create illusions of ancient grandeur in your mind. It’s worth considering that they might be slightly less grand when your five-year-old is trying to learn how to write his name at school.  In which case a three letter shortie wins hands down! (Perhaps Chris Evans has a point after all!)

Does it top the charts?

The official data regarding the top baby names for 2017 was recently announced in the press and depending on whether you’re keen to follow trends or stand out from the crowd, it could heavily impact your choice of names.

According to the Office for National Statistics, in England and Wales Oliver and Olivia were most popular for the second year running.

The ‘Royal effect’ means that George has increased in popularity, now sitting at number three spot for boys, and Charlotte is at number 12 for girls. And in the capital and Yorkshire Muhammad was the most popular boys’ name. And sadly, for anyone considering Sarah as a future moniker for their newborn, this name was the most popular girls name during much of the 1970s and 80s but has now dropped out of the top 100 for the first time since records began. And for all you Nigel-lovers, you’ll be heartened to hear that after facing near extinction in 2016, the name has now made a comeback, with 11 boys given the name in 2017.

Is it social media material?

Tired, stuck at home and with only our phone for adult company, what Mum doesn’t turn to social media occasionally* (NB understatement of the century). Which is why interestingly some experts think that traditional names are actually being ditched for the ‘Instagram effect’. In other words, parents are turning to Instagram for inspiration rather than more traditional sources as in days gone by. Similarly, Games of Thrones fans may be responsible for the fact that 343 babies were called Arya – presumably after one of the main characters in the show.

Are the likes of Facebook and Instagram just a passing phase though? Problem is that whatever name you pick for your baby they’ll be stuck with it for life!

@mushmums @rachtompkins